The Annual Pass PROBLEM You Could Face and 3 Possible Solutions

As Michael Scott from The Office would say, IT’S HAPPENING! EVERYBODY STAY CALM!

Annual Pass

Disney World Annual Passes are going on sale TOMORROW (April 20th), and we know that a lot of you have your alarms set for the big event. We also know that many people have one specific question that could impact how they buy a new Annual Pass or even whether they buy one at all. We’re here to help you sort out the answer and make the best plan possible for buying a new pass.

Most Disney World Annual Pass sales have been on pause for over a year now (with the exception of the Pixie Pass, which is only available to Florida residents). But starting on April 20th, all of the pass types will be available for purchase again, and anyone who already has a pass will also be able to upgrade to a different pass type.


I’ve been a huge fan of Disney World for a while now (as you’d probably expect from a DFB writer), and I go to the parks whenever I possibly can. But I actually live pretty far away from Florida, so it hasn’t made sense for me to purchase an Annual Pass — until now! I’m going to be moving soon, and I’ll finally be close enough to justify purchasing a pass. This will be my first time buying a Disney World Annual Pass, and as I was planning for the big drop, I ran into a question that is apparently on a lot of other people’s minds as well.

The Question

I already have a 2023 Disney World vacation planned, and I already bought park pass tickets (this was before I knew that the Annual Passes would go on sale again). So if I buy an Annual Pass tomorrow, can I have the cost of those tickets deducted from the cost of my Annual Pass?

Entering the park

For example, if I bought park tickets that cost $400 in total, would my Incredi-Pass cost $999 instead of $1,399 since those tickets would be “absorbed” by my new pass? Several readers have reached out with the same question, and we dug in to find the answer.

The “Answer”

We called Disney’s Annual Pass customer service line to ask this question. We spoke to several different Cast Members on multiple occasions and got a very similar answer each time. They told us that the only way to guarantee that you get the cost of your tickets deducted from the cost of your Annual Pass is to purchase your Annual Pass over the phone (not online) and have the cost deducted at the time that you buy your pass.

These things aren’t cheap!

The Cast Members recommended NOT buying the pass online because they said they could not guarantee that the cost of the tickets would be deducted from the pass cost if you buy it online. They also said that they can’t guarantee that Disney will refund the price of the tickets if you buy the Annual Pass full-price and then try later to get the cost deducted.

Sounds simple enough, right? But there’s one BIG problem with that solution.

The Problem

Disney’s website states that Annual Passes will go on sale on April 20th no earlier than 6AM EST. Although the passes could go on sale LATER than 6AM, we’re expecting them to be available right around 6. But the phone lines for Disney’s customer service team don’t open until 7AM EST — that means you’ll have to wait a full hour after passes go on sale to call and try to buy one over the phone.

Passholder Entrance

It’s possible that there will be plenty of Annual Passes to go around and you’ll still be able to buy a new one several days from April 20th. However, it’s also possible that the passes will sell out within minutes of going on sale online.

Annual Passholder Card in early 2021

A LOT of people are excited that the passes are going to be available again, so we wouldn’t be shocked to see them sell out quickly. Disney’s website notes that “the quantity of passes will be limited and passes, or a pass type, may become unavailable for purchase at any time.”


So if you choose to wait until the phone lines open, you may miss out completely on the chance to buy an Annual Pass this time around.

Your Options

So if you’re experiencing the same problem I am, what should we do? We’ve got a couple of options:

Buy the Pass Over the Phone

We can wait until 7AM and try to buy an Annual Pass over the phone, like the Cast Member recommended. This gives us the best chance of getting the ticket cost deducted from the Annual Pass cost, but of course, we run the risk of completely missing our chance to get a pass at all if they sell out online before the phone lines open.

How cute!

If you want to go with this option, the Annual Pass phone number for Disney World is (407) 939-7277.

Buy the Pass Online and Try To Fix It Later

Our next option is to buy the pass online ASAP and then try to get the ticket cost deducted from the pass cost later on. In this case, we’d buy the pass for full price and then try to call Disney’s customer service line afterward to get a refund for the original park tickets.

If you’ll be in Disney World soon, you can also stop by a Guest Services desk to speak to a Cast Member in person. It might be easier to explain the situation there rather than over the phone, so even if you’re not able to get the refund over the phone, we’d recommend trying again the next time you’re there in person.

Guest Relations in Magic Kingdom

It’s possible that this option will work and you’ll be able to get your park tickets refunded, but Disney has said that this is NOT guaranteed. With this option, you run the risk of paying for both the park tickets and the Annual Pass without getting a refund at all.

Buy the Pass Online and WAIT To Activate It

A third option is that we could buy an Annual Pass and then WAIT to activate it until AFTER the trip that we already have tickets for. That way you don’t waste your ticket and your pass will last longer.


Note that you must activate your Annual Pass within one year of purchasing it. So if you’re not planning on visiting Disney World again after your next trip within a year, this plan won’t work.

But, for example, if you have a trip planned for June (with tickets already purchased) and another planned for December (and you haven’t purchased your tickets yet), then you go in June and use your tickets and then wait to activate your pass until the December trip. That means your pass will be good for a full year after your December trip instead of just until the next June.

Magic Kingdom

With this option, you won’t get your money back from the park passes you’ve already purchased, but you will get more time out of your Annual Pass, which could make up for the cost if you go to the parks frequently enough.

One problem that may come with this option is that your Annual Pass could link to your My Disney Experience account, so when you scan into the park (trying to use your regular park tickets), it might activate your pass before you wanted it to be activated. You can talk to a Cast Member about possibly fixing the issue after the fact, but if you want to be super safe, you could create a separate My Disney Experience account (with a different email) for your Annual Pass. Do NOT link the two accounts until you’re ready to activate your pass.

My Disney Experience

I’ll be right there with ya tomorrow morning, trying to buy an Annual Pass, so I will be sure to update this post as soon as I get more information about how it will work to merge existing tickets with Annual Passes.

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Are you planning to buy a Disney World Annual Pass? Let us know in the comments.

The post The Annual Pass PROBLEM You Could Face and 3 Possible Solutions first appeared on the disney food blog.


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